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Cambridge Gets Behind 25th Charity Rally


Mooloo Crew fires up fire tender for Variety – The Children’s Charity

Cambridge will have a pivotal part to play when the 25th annual Trillian Variety Bash raising funds for Kiwi kids fires up on March 7, for it is fielding a fun-loving fund-raising team, and will host the penultimate night of this quirky charity road rally.

The Bash, named for old-style bush-bashing, raises funds for Variety - The Children's Charity, with the money going to help children be the best they can be. That might be via donating a specialised trike for a disabled child or an laptop with specific programming; it might be sports kit, or the keys to a Ford Sunshine Coach for a remote school; it might be a sports grant or books, or even clothing for a foster child. Whatever it is, the hard-working Mooloo Crew have got behind it for nine years.

Team Captain Christian Bilbe owns a 1978 Ford V8 fire truck, with 600-litre tanks loaded with water for the inevitable giant-sized water fights that take place along the route. He and his regular Waikato crew - Mike Talbot, Pete Lewis, Todd Gemmell, Pete Bunn and Charlie Lea spend all year working hard to raise funds and keep sponsors happy, then head out for the week-long bash which travels a different route each year, visiting schools, hospitals and kindergartens to entertain, to donate, or to shake buckets for further funds along the way.

Christian says the team got hooked when they discovered Bashing is, as he says, "The most rewarding and fun way of raising money for the disabled and disadvantaged kids of New Zealand."

He says he’d like to see a local business sign up as a major sponsor, but he’s grateful when a few got on board to help his Mooloo team-mates reach their annual fund-raising target, "South Auckland Ford, Talbot Law, Modern Construction, Cambrailie Spraying, Plumb Tech, and Pete's Emporium - you're all awesome, and even our local farmer has helped out with a bale of hay wrap, which we use to create the sort of havoc kids love - and which can cost you a donation to undo!" And he's not joking, as TV One newsman Simon Dallow discovered when his BMW got the Mooloo treatment last year.

Christian's team look like your typical hard-working hard-partying Kiwi crew, but when it comes to a working bee at a rural school, setting up a Liberty swing for a child in a wheelchair, or stopping traffic to fill charity buckets they put their backs into it - and they're not beyond wiping away a tear or two – "dust, mate" - when a sick child brightens at their antics, the gifts they bring or as they unload a cartoon character or celebrity from atop their mighty rig.

"Variety does a fantastic job for the ordinary Kiwi battler who just needs a hand-up for their kid," he says, "And the Bash does a fantastic job for Variety. We're stoked the rally will pass through Cambridge this year, we've got big plans to entertain them, and we're making sure there'll be plenty of chances for anyone in Cambridge to get along and meet the crews. Watch out for more information nearer their March 13 arrival in town!

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